Sage Grouse Authors Not Optimistic About Future

Laramie, WY – The authors of a new report on sage grouse and sagebrush habitat are not optimistic about the bird's future. The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service commissioned the Western Association of Fish and Game Agencies to conduct the study. Idaho Fish and Game Biologist Jack Connelly says both human and natural forces have combined to fragment habitat. He says sage grouse are used to wide open spaces and such things as subdivision development, energy development, grazing and the invasion of cheat grass have impacted the landscape. Connelly says biologists also are concerned about the impacts West Nile Virus could have on the bird. The reported with be used by Fish and Wildlife to determine whether the sage grouse needs endangered species protection.